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Video Resumes Hot or Not

September 25, 2007
Related Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Featured Article, Staffing Management
Video résumés are being touted by online job boards as the hot new way to look for a job, particularly for the Generation Y candidate trying to snag a first job out of college.

CareerBuilder, Jobster and Workblast are promoting video résumés. Vault held a video résumé contest this spring with the prize of a summer job in investment banking. Video résumés also can be found on YouTube, Google Video and MySpace pages.

While video résumés may be a creative way to capture the employer’s attention, they’re not getting a warm embrace from recruiters and hiring managers. Human resource professionals and recruiters already take pains to avoid discrimination by removing photos attached to résumés before passing them to hiring managers and clients. They view video résumés as fraught with liability concerns.

"There are issues where photos have been discriminatory," explains Bill Frank, an executive recruiter for Stanton Chase International in Boca Raton, Florida.

The reticence may be well founded. Video résumés could lead to intentional race discrimination based on appearance, warns the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal agency writes there could be a "disproportionate exclusion of applicants of color" by employers viewing video résumés.

Bank of America, which hires many entry-level employees at its financial institutions nationwide, doesn’t even accept video résumés from job applicants, according to a bank spokeswoman. Neither does Menlo Park, California-based staffing firm Robert Half International.

"There’s definitely a curiosity about it," says Diane Domeyer, executive director for Office Team, a division of Robert Half. But video résumés "are viewed with trepidation on the part of managers. It can open the door to discrimination."

Office Team advises employers that want to view video résumés to have a plan for "equal consideration given to those who don’t have a video résumé," she says. Employers also need legal guidelines on how video résumés should be received and how long they should be kept on file. Hiring managers viewing video résumés also need to be trained on giving equal consideration to applicants, no matter their age, gender or race.

Domeyer says video résumés might have better use as a second point of contact, to provide more information on candidates after the employer has met them. Video résumés could be especially useful as a follow-up tool for industries such as broadcast and technology, and professions that emphasize communications skills, she says.

For recruiters, another stumbling block is simply finding the time to view video résumés, which may run from one to three minutes.

"We look at so many résumés in a week," said Joe LoBello, a recruiter for Kramer Professional Staffing in Boca Raton. LoBello reviews as many as 100 résumés a day from professionals looking for accounting, finance and human resources jobs.

Chinoy Baval of, a Miami recruiter advertising firm, says that like any novel approach, the video résumé is "going to take time to become popular." But he says companies are already using videos successfully to communicate with potential job candidates.

Wayfinder has produced videos for companies including aerospace firm Boeing Co. and luxury retailer Nordstrom. An employer video can give a job candidate insight into a particular company, helping him decide if the firm is a good fit, Baval says.

Recruiter Frank does see value in video résumés for recruiters in evaluating the out-of-town job candidate. A video résumé could be an inexpensive substitute for a recruiter’s travel time and expense to check out a potential candidate.

More effective, Frank says, is interviewing candidates through videoconferencing. Job candidates can go to any Kinko’s or an executive office suite set up for videoconferencing. The recruiter located in another city then can both observe the candidate’s communication skills and ask pertinent questions.

But for crucial executive hires, Frank says a video is no substitute for a meeting in person.

"You never get that same feeling that you do from pressing the flesh," he says.

Video résumés so far seem to be most popular among college graduates and entry-level workers. The higher level job a candidate seeks, the less likely a video résumé will impress.

Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles says it doesn’t get many video résumés because it recruits mostly top executives. "We look at it as a gimmick at the midlevel," says Eric Sodorff, a spokesman for the firm.

Bonnie Crabtree, who heads the Miami office of recruiter Korn/Ferry International, says job candidates eligible for chief executive or other top executive positions are not likely to apply with a video résumé. But creativity can count, she says, recalling one candidate who applied for a chief marketing officer position by sending a coconut with his résumé sticking out of it.

Crabtree says she didn’t end up presenting the candidate to a client, but she did contact him.

"Anybody who goes to that trouble deserves a phone call," she says.


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